Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army Cadet Command
In a competition involving Army Junior ROTC teams from around the globe, the cadets of Saint Thomas Academy, St. Paul, Minn., took top honors at the 2009 Junior ROTC Academic Bowl.
The competition, created exclusively for Junior ROTC cadets by the College Options Foundation, provides the nearly 300,000 students in the Army Junior ROTC program the opportunity to showcase their academic prowess.
|Over 2,100 teams participated in the initial phase of the competition that was conducted online.
Top placing teams advanced to Level II – also conducted online with a Web/voice interactive component. The final phase of the competition, involving 72 teams took place at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., June 26-30.
During the competition at George Mason, the cadets fielded questions at the level of those routinely seen on college entrance examinations. They included questions about mathematics, science, English, history and current events.
"They answered a myriad of questions that would probably stump most people twice their age," said Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell, commanding general, U.S. Army Cadet Command, – the parent organization of the Army ROTC program.
Cadets from Saint Thomas Academy, St. Paul, Minn., compete in the 2009 Junior ROTC Academic Bowl at George Mason University, Fairfax, Va. Pictured from left to right are James Harnett, Tim Mannuzza, Madison Whalen and Jack Ryan.
Members of the Saint Thomas Academy team were Madison Whalen, James Harnett, Tim Mannuzza and Jack Ryan.
In the final round of competition, they were matched up against the team representing Lowell High School in San Francisco.
Tension was high as the teams answered the final series of questions that would decide the winner of the competition.
Some of the final questions posed involved current events in Sri Lanka, the components of the human heart and 19th century Russian literature.
"In more ways than one, they are an amazing group of young people," said Bartell. "Their average grade point average stands at 3.8. Well over half of the group are in academic honors programs at their schools. And, here is the statistic that impresses me most. One hundred percent of these young people have pledged that they will attend a four-year college. So it is no exaggeration to say that we are truly talking about the best of the best."
Members of the Lowell High School team were Mack Qin, Kristi Cheng, Alex Zhao and Jessica Wu.
They came to the competition just weeks after the San Francisco Board of Education reversed a 2006 decision that would have discontinued the entire Junior ROTC program in that city. This latest school board decision will allow students at seven high schools in the city to continue to enjoy the benefits of the Junior ROTC program.
"The Junior ROTC program helps to provide these young people with a rock-solid foundation. It teaches them about citizenship, patriotism and respect. And it helps equip them with the critical leadership skills needed to succeed in a competitive world," Bartell said.
Adding, "Those are the real reasons why Junior ROTC and competitions like this are so important."